Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Gary Shapiro recently testified before a U.S. congressional committee held by the Senate Commerce Committee examining the transition to digital television (DTV).
"A hard deadline to end analog television broadcasts will bring needed certainty to the DTV transition," Mr. Shapiro said. "A hard deadline will provide a 'win-win' scenario for all stakeholders, allow manufacturers and retailers to label analog products, and will foster innovation and strengthen our national security.
Mr. Shapiro pointed to CEA's newest survey that found nearly 110 million American homes with at least one TV, almost 87 percent, are receiving local and national broadcast programming via cable or satellite. Only 32.7 million, or 11.5 percent, of the 285 million television sets are used to view over-the-air television programming (OTA).
"The simple fact is: while an analog broadcasting cut-off is important for our nation, it will have only a small practical impact on the viewing habits of the vast majority of Americans," Mr. Shapiro said.
In addition, Mr. Shapiro commented on his concern over proposals to accelerate digital tuner deadlines, saying that aggressively accelerating the mandate for 13- to 24-in sets and other devices such as VCRs, DVD, and DVRs, would dramatically increase the price of the small-screen TV sets, or force manufacturers to not produce those models rather than be in noncompliance.
"CEA believes that March 2007 is the earliest possible date, consistent with the integration of digital reception capability into 13- to 24-in sets and other devices having an analog tuner," Mr. Shapiro said. "This date would fall within our industry's 18- to 24-month product cycle, allow time for economies of scale to develop, and prices to come down."
In conclusion, Mr. Shapiro applauded the committee for its efforts. "Setting a realistic and certain date for the end of analog broadcasting and the recovery of the analog spectrum for new purposes is the right thing to do," he said. "Meanwhile, we will continue our unprecedented efforts to educate consumers about digital television. I pledge CEA's continuing commitment to working with this committee and other stakeholders to ensure the most speedy and consumer friendly transition, and a prompt return of the analog broadcast spectrum."
to Daily News